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Reviews of Peking Garden
gREGs18348 posted on 09/13/2013
Apparently, I am on a local Chinese food review kick, as this is the third of four Chinese restaurants I have reviewed, in the last month, all within a two mile radius of my house. I have lived nearby for eight years now, and knew of its existence, but I had never eaten there until recently. Tucked into a strip mall just a couple of doors down from the Dillonvale IGA grocery, and next to the ACE hardware store, it could easily be missed if you don’t know where to look. The front windows are an odd mix of ads for its extensive Slushie line, unusual for a Chinese restaurant, and the standard set of Chinese food photos. I would guess someone has made a mint selling those same “Happy Family”, “General Tso’s Chicken” and “Sweet and Sour Pork” Pics to every Chinese fast food restaurant in the US.<br />
Walking in, one is a little confused as to the set-up. To your left is a large counter, a cash register and a row of “Frozen Slushie” machines. They serve about 15 different kinds of Slushies, all for $1.00 (& up). A pretty good deal, I guess. Lining the aisle in front of you on the left is a row of about a dozen chairs to sit and wait for your order. They are an eclectic mix of three styles, with four of each type. Oddly orderly and neat at the same time. On the right are stacks of supplies – sodas, dry goods, a trash can, a cooler, a freight cart, and more. Straight ahead of you, you finally spy the counter through the tunnel of goods. At that point, I thought it odd that there was no place to sit and dine, as this type of establishment usually does. Well, as I approached the counter, I noticed a small dining area, very neat, very clean, and almost all of the items inside this area were matching. The four tables seat a dozen and a half or so, and looks like a nice place to sit. A little Oasis in the middle of the clutter.<br />
Ordering was easy and straightforward. They have the typical selection: Soup, Appetizers, Noodles, Pork, Shrimp, Beef, Chicken, etc. They serve their lunch special every day, Monday through Sunday, opening until 3:00 p.m. I ordered two specials to go: Garlic Shrimp with steamed rice, and Sesame Chicken with fried rice. The special comes with an egg roll. And as always, I ordered a large Hot & Sour Soup. I was told it would take 10 minutes, so I ran to the IGA to get a couple of things while my meal was being prepared. 10 minutes later, I returned. The food was packaged and ready as promised. I paid, grabbed a couple of hot mustards from the bins on the left, and darted home.<br />
The Hot & Sour Soup was only fair. While there was plenty of “goodies” in the soup, Tofu, onions, green onions, etc., the mushrooms were practically raw. They were still spongy, and had had been barely cooked down. Points for being made fresh, loss of points for being done poorly. The broth was just OK, too. Flavorful enough, but not very spicy – maybe toned down for the local Midwestern palate. Edible but not super enjoyable.<br />
The Garlic Shrimp was nice, well cooked, but a little lacking in garlic for my taste. This is one I would definitely ask for some extra garlic next time. The vegetables (carrots, broccoli, water chestnuts and bell peppers) were cooked very well. Not overcooked to the point of being limp, they still had a bite. The shrimp were not large, but there was a sufficient amount. A few red pepper flakes joined the saucy party, but not enough to really have much of an effect. There was less entrée, and more rice on this dish than on the Sesame Chicken. Lots of steamed rice underneath. The steamed rice was good though, it was ummmmmm…..steamed rice. <br />
As for the Sesame chicken – It presented beautifully, with a good sized portion of large battered and deep fried chicken chunks covered in a nice, thick, sesame sauce. There were even a couple of well-prepared broccolis added to the presentation for some color. The chicken coating was a little too thick for my taste (as it is on Sweet and Sour or General Tso’s Chicken dishes), but the sauce was good. A nice sweet sesame coating, dusted with sesame seeds. Unlike the Garlic Shrimp, Chicken filled about 60% of the container. The fried rice was good, not dry – a few flecks of egg and some green onion hanging out with the grains. <br />
I did enjoy the egg rolls very much. They were flaky, tasty, and not very greasy or oily. Either one of these lunch specials would fill up even the hungriest of souls (or stomachs), I would say. There were plenty of leftovers, enough to make a couple of reasonable sized meals.<br />
I would go back here, and I would put it in the recommend column, especially for the lunch special. I wouldn’t drive very far or go out of my way, but if in the area and ready for some reasonable Chinese food, this place would fit the bill. Oh, and I think I have to go back and try a Slushie sometime – I mean for a buck? Watermelon Slushie Here I Come!<br />
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